Paavo Nurmi medals, results & records in Olympic Athletics

Paavo Nurmi at the Olympics
Biography and Olympic Results

Facts about Olympic
Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi is one of the great figures in olympic history. He was born June 13 1897 in Turku.

The first time Nurmi's unusual talent appeared was in 1919 when Nurmi served in the Finnish army. Nurmi participated in a 20 km march with full military equipment. It was allowed to run and that was what Nurmi excelled in. With the heavy equipment Nurmi ran the 20 km so fast that he was afterwards accused of cheating.

At the olympic games in Antwerp a year after Nurmi was for the first time known by the international world of athletics. He participated in four events in Antwerp and won three of them and took silver in the fourth. With these victories he laid the foundation for a glorious career as the world's dominating long distance runner during the 1920's.

At the olympic games in Paris 1924 Nurmi experienced his greatest triumphs. His victories with 55 minutes interval in the 1500 m and the 5000 m events belong to the top performances in Olympic history. The same can be said about his fight against fellow countryman Ville Ritola on the 5000 m. In total Paavo Nurmi took 5 gold medals at the games in Paris.

Four years later in Amsterdam Nurmi was 31 years old and had undoubtedly passed the peak of his career. Nonetheless he took one gold and two silver medals.

It was expected that Paavo Nurmi would crown his olympic career by winning the Marathon gold at the Olympics in Los Angeles 1932. However, a week before the games the international athletics associaton, the IAAF, decided to pronounce Nurmi a professional because he had received an all too high amount of money to cover his expenses during a tour in Germany. Paavo Nurmi was excluded from the Los Angeles games and in this way the great Finnish athlete had a quite cheerless ending to his international career.

Back in Finland Nurmi was allowed to participate in national races under the heading "national amateur" until he retired in 1933. In 1952 the 55 year old Nurmi lit the olympic fire at the opening of the olympic games in Helsinki.

In total Paavo Nurmi won nine gold medals and three silver medals at the olympics. In addition he set no less than 29 world records throughout his career on 16 different distances between 1500 m and 20.000 m.

Nurmi was a loner, jealous of his honor and first and foremost a perfectionsit in training as well as in competitions where he usually won with machine like precision. Nurmi was far ahead of his time in this respect. The image of Paavo Nurmi in a tough pace, round after round, on an olympic arena - while he repeatedly controlled his pace with his famous stop watch in his right hand - was typical for the best of the "flying finns" in the inter-war period.

In respect for the great Finnish olympian a statue has been raised in his honor at the olympic museum in Lausanne.

Paavo Nurmi died on October 2 1973 at the age of 78.

Paavo Nurmi - Results in the Olympic Games




Facts about Olympic Athletics Amsterdam 1928 - Athletics
10000 m MFinal30.18,8OR
3000 m steeplechase MFinal9.31,2
Round 119.58,8Q
5000 m MFinal14.40,0
Facts about Olympic Athletics Paris 1924 - Athletics
1500 m MFinal3.53,6OR
Round 114.07,6Q
3000 m team MFinal standing8 (1-2-5)
5000 m MFinal14.31,2OR
Round 1115.28,6Q
Cross country individual MFinal32.54,8
Cross country team MFinal11
Facts about Olympic Athletics Antwerp 1920 - Athletics
10000 m MFinal31.45,8
Round 12--Q
5000 m MFinal15.00,0
Round 1215.33,0Q
Cross country individual MFinal27.15,0
Cross country team MFinal10

Not all results presented above for Paavo Nurmi are complete in the Olympian Database. There can be some preliminary heats or similar that are not yet shown in the list.

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